When they still had players like Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott, and Matt Moulson on their roster, the Buffalo Sabres sat dead last in the league in scoring, in 30th place. Now that those three players have been traded away, fans are wondering - who exactly will score for this team?
If last night's game is any indication, the answer, depressingly enough, is nobody.
Roberto Luongo made 25 saves in his return to Florida, while the Panthers received goals from Dimitry Kulikov and Jesse Winchester in a 2-0 shutout of the Sabres.
The game was another pathetic effort from the Sabres offense, which now revolves around forwards Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford. That trio finishes with ten shots, while rookie winger Nicolas Delauriers added four of his own. No other Sabres player finished with more than one shot, and getting out Corsi'd yet again by a 2:1 margin finally doomed the Sabres, who just couldn't find the twine behind Luongo. With injuries shortening their talent pool even more, Buffalo will need players outside their top trio to step up and take over some of the offensive responsibilities. Also, we're still waiting for Ville Leino to score his first goal, so maybe someone could remind him that the team's highest-paid forward might want to chip in a goal or two every 44 games?
The Sabres also took way too many penalties, aided by a few questionable calls and non-calls from the boys in stripes tonight. Marcus Foligno was given five and a game for hitting the head of Brandon Pirri, who attempted to turn and began to fall over before Foligno even got to him, which ended up putting his own head next to Foligno's elbow.
Two new Sabres made their debuts in the loss, and both goalie Michal Neuvirth and left wing Nicolas Delauriers played well in the loss, with Deslauriers getting special teams time and Neuvirth stopping a penalty shot. The Sabres will likely need more reinforcements as Alexander Sulzer was injured in the game, and likely won't be available for Sunday's game versus Chicago. No updates were provided on the injuries to Chris Stewart, Zemgus Girgensons, or Tory Mitchell.
1. Will Neuvirth hold steady with Buffalo's recent stretch of amazing goaltending?
Neuvirth made 42 saves and stopped a penalty shot in the losing effort, which keeps in line with Buffalo's recent run of excellent goaltending.
3. Who's even playing tonight?
Well, Cory Conacher didn't make it, so Nicolas Deslauriers made his NHL debut. The 23-year old made a fine first impression, finishing with four shots and four hits. Ted Nolan was impressed, saying, "I thought he looked really good for a big man. He has a good, quick release. He finishes his checks. You could tell where he came from and he got good tutelage. He’s almost ready for primetime."
1. Roberto Luongo - 25 saves and a shutout to boot
Comment of the Game
There are more people in this thread than in the BB&T center
I usually don't like to rag on other team's fan bases, but with the weather we've had to suffer through the past few months, everyone who lives in Florida can go stand outside for five seconds if they feel bad and remember how wonderful their lives are.